The Pittsburgh Penguins had two franchise icons to re-sign this offseason, and today they finalized a deal with one of them: Kris Letang. With Letang’s extension finalized, the next priority for Ron Hextall and the Penguins is re-signing Evgeni Malkin. According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN, getting across the finish line with Malkin and his agent, J.P. Barry, could be a challenge.
Per LeBrun, Malkin and the Penguins are “not on the same page” and Malkin is reportedly “ready” to hit free agency if the Penguins don’t offer him an extension with more than a three-year term. Malkin, 35, is coming off of a season where he was above a point-per-game, although his injury woes limited him to playing in only half of the Penguins’ 82 regular-season contests. Injury issues have plagued Malkin for years, and he has not reached the 70-game mark in any regular season since 2017-18. Malkin’s desire for more term is definitely reasonable, he’s such a widely-respected superstar that he could likely get a longer-term deal on the open market, and the Penguins’ desire to keep term down on an extension for their injury-prone, 35-year-old franchise legend is also understandable. It looks like a difficult, complicated situation for the Penguins to navigate, and it seems that the unthinkable possibility of Malkin playing for another NHL franchise is more realistic than it has ever been.
Now, for some other notes from across the NHL:
- The San Diego Gulls’ next head coach seems to have been found. The Athletic’s Eric Stephens reports that “multiple sources” have told him that the San Diego Gulls will hire Ray Sommer as their next head coach, on a one-year deal. The contract is not yet finalized but once it becomes official the Gulls will be adding the AHL’s all-time winningest head coach. Sommer was previously the coach of the San Jose Barracuda and has been an AHL head coach since the 1998-99 season when he led the Kentucky Thoroughblades to the playoffs.
- The Los Angeles Kings are beefing up their hockey operations department. Earlier this year they added a former GM to their front office ranks and now they’re adding another accomplished name: Manon Rheaume. Rheaume famously became the first woman to play in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues, when she suited up for the Tampa Bay Lightning for exhibition games 1992 and 1993. Rheaume will take an advisory role with the Kings.